This article has been written by Sarangan Rajeshkumar (Batch of 2018)
One job that I have faithfully performed for the last four years is being my batch’s class representative. As college designations go, it isn’t the fanciest, the most prestigious or even the one that receives the most hate. (The last one will always be reserved for MessComm). It does, however, keep me occupied and every once in a while it makes me feel like I am doing more in college than playing Age of Empires every day. But the one time every trimester where every class representative’s phone is flooded is the week leading up to project submissions.
To understand what exactly my job is, one needs to understand how project submissions exactly work. In my opinion, every project submission has three phases: the one where you think of working, the one where you try to work and the one where work actually gets done. The duration of these phases vary depending on the kind of person that you are. I am truly jealous of my friends who manage, time and again, to begin phase three a whole week and a half before submissions. But I’d like to think their lives are more boring than mine. I, on the other hand, begin phase three 36 hours before the date of the submission. This is less than ideal. But at this point I am still better off than those who have texted me asking me how likely it is that I will be able to convince the UG Chairperson that the internet has, once again, had the life sucked out of it at the exact moment when we finally thought we could stop using it to stream Westworld and use it for what it was meant for. Everyone has picked up their phones and registered their voice on the batch WhatsApp group – “Can we please ask for an extension? We’ve had no time at all to make our project”. The vendor at Wholesale Wines will beg to differ.
Thus, I write to the UG Chairperson. As always, we’re given fewer days than we had asked for. The batch laments that there has been a travesty of justice and we have been robbed of our due. We’re left with only one authority to approach – Vice, of House Chancellor, first of his name, king of the LLMs, LLBs, and all the animals in between.
I draft the application asking for an extension with more loathing and self-hate than a catholic teen playing with himself while watching ‘Schoolboy makes gardener trim his bush’.
Soon I have my application drafted and I take it to the vice chancellor’s office. ‘Ask and ye shall receive’ reads the noticeboard outside his door; motivating me as always to ask for more. I’m lying, the noticeboard had today’s thought for the day, pinned there faithfully as always. But I ask for an extension anyway and the extension is granted. I have now destroyed the next few days of my life along with that of the rest of college.
“Why do you say ‘destroyed’? Why all the loathing?” you’re sure to ask. Here’s why –
The problem with asking for an extension is that it eats away time that you would otherwise use for more meaningful pursuits – watching a movie, reading a book or trying to build your capacity for old monk. There is that odd time in every person’s life, one that would fall in phase two of the aforementioned three phases, when you really want to begin your project but 9Gag seems to be more vibrant than it ever was. You begin to browse the most obscure corners of the World Wide Web and maybe even indulge in a bit of NRAP (Non-Recreational Academic Pot: the kind you need to get yourself to focus just the right amount…or so we tell ourselves). Our distractions may be varied, but I can say with a fair amount of confidence that this phase is one that everyone experiences. What an extension does is extend this phase. After the general extension comes through, it gets extended by two days. It gets extended by two more days when the Moot Court Society comes out with theirs, and goes on getting extended when each committee, board, club, council, and association rolls out one of their own.
This time is not an enjoyable time for anyone. You shy away from any activity that would take more than an hour and a half because you need to get back to making your project. You don’t want to go on a holiday because you’re going to use the weekend to “just sit and write”. You have multiple tabs open on your browser and you convince yourself that you will get to them right after you finish this one last YouTube video. One last Chetta run before you get work. Nothing gets done.
All of you who know what I’m talking about here (and I’m certain that 90% of you do) should realize that you have had very little time to do what you really want to do in college because of phase two. Ever wonder why most of us have managed less than four or five trips to somewhere other than Nandi hills? (It’s shameful if you count that as a trip) Ever wonder why you haven’t ever had the time to publish in an international journal? Ever wonder why you’ve not been to more than forty bars in Bangalore – a visiting professor who was here for five weeks told me that she managed to visit eighty-two; that’s double the number that I have managed in four years. None of this has been possible because projects have always got in the way.
But what do we do about this? My suggestion is simple – we get the SBA to make a representation to the vice chancellor asking him to never grant an extension again. It doesn’t matter if the internet is actually bad and we can’t meet the deadline, I’d rather take a project carry than have us continue living the shitty life that we’ve lived. This is the only way that we will actually be able to get back the time that keeps getting stolen away from us. I say that this is the only way because I know that the alternative is impossible – that we actually manage our time better.